Troy remains unbeaten in Sun Belt

Published 11:11 pm Saturday, October 31, 2009

There were no tricks during Troy’s game against Louisiana-Monroe on Halloween night, but there was a treat for Trojan fans.

In a game between the last two unbeaten teams in the Sun Belt Conference, there was a lot at stake.

The winner would be in the driver’s seat for the conference championship while the loser would like the rest of the league, on the outside looking in.

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The Trojans once again appear to be in the conference’s driver’s seat.

As the team has been all season, senior quarterback Levi Brown led the way for the Trojans who handed the Warhawks its first conference loss of the season with a 42-21 victory and in the process improved Troy’s record to 6-2 overall, 5-0 in Sun Belt play.

The loss drops ULM to 3-1 in the Sun Belt and 4-4 overall.

“Always pleasant to get a win,” Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said following the game.

“We knew it was going to be a tough test against [ULM],” he added.

The win also gives Troy some payback.

Last season, the Warhawks were the only team to defeat the Trojans during Sun Belt play.

“A lot of good things came out of this game,” Blakeney said.

“Our running game struggled early on, but I thought we executed very well in the passing game.

“We will enjoy this win. We targeted this game at the beginning of the season because of what happened last year. Overall, I thought we played a complete ball game,” the coach said.

The Trojans got off to a fast start thanks to Brown and junior wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan.

The two connected six times for 102 yards in the first quarter alone.

This would become a regular occurrence for the remainder of the game.

“This was a huge win for us,” Jernigan said.

“We all knew someone was going to not be undefeated afterwards – I’m glad it’s not us.”

The wide receiver was a big reason why the Trojans were able to come away with a victory.

Jernigan finished the game with career highs in both receptions, with 13, and reception yards with 205.

He also added a touchdown.

“This game meant a lot to me,” Jernigan said.

“I didn’t get to play in last year’s game so I wanted to come out and have a big game today.”

Jernigan’s counterpart, Brown, had an equally impressive day.

The senior threw for a career-high, four touchdowns, a 16-yard pass to Josh Jarboe, a 33-yard pass to Chip Reeves, a 22-yard pass to Andrew Davis and a 41-yard pass to Jernigan.

“I know some teams have had some success passing against [ULM] and haven’t been so lucky running against them and that was kind of the story for us [Saturday night],” Brown said.

Brown finished the game throwing for 378 yards and four touchdowns, completing 28 of his 41 passes. As a whole the Trojan offense produced 428 yards, 50 of those yards came on the ground.

Senior running back DuJuan Harris led the rushing attack finishing with 31 yards and a touchdown on 13 rushes. Along with the offense, the defense stepped up in the win.

Warhawks’ quarterback Cody Wells was sacked three times and threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by linebacker Boris Lee.

“It’s a big deal to be on top of the conference,” Lee said.

“We have to keep getting better week by week we can’t have any let downs.”

Lee finished the game with 14 total tackles.

The win on Saturday night was also a milestone for Blakeney as it was his 150th win as the Trojan head coach.

“I don’t know how I much I really think about that,” Blakeney said about the win. “I am more concerned about the wins needed to put this team where it needs to be now – what’s important is the present. The players and the coaches I have been with through the years are the reason I am where I am,” he added.